National drugstore chains, once resistant to the retail apocalypse that swept across the U.S., are finally succumbing to competition from online shopping and discount stores.

About 3,000 fewer drugstores were open for business at the start of this year compared with the same period in 2019, according to analytics company RetailStat, which tracks 15 pharmacy chains.

CVS Health, Walgreens and Rite Aid have each closed hundreds of stores since the onset of the pandemic. Online shopping has been growing and offers customers a more convenient way to buy household staples.

Competition has also increased from discount retailers such as Walmart, grocers such as Aldi, and dollar stores, which all sell many of the same items at lower prices. The spread of beauty stores such as Sephora further siphoned customers from drugstore aisles.

“Everybody’s gone after a component of their business,” said Henry Fonvielle, president of the real-estate company Rappaport.

Kate King

Author Camille Seldin

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